Friday, December 18, 2020

Grandmama Llama

 It's finished and delivered!


I made and gifted this throw quilt to my sister as a surprise present. The purple minky on the back is so soft. The pattern is Lloyd & Lola by Elizabeth Hartman with one major change. The pattern makes two large llamas but I made the llama on the left 3/4 size to celebrate my sister's first grandchild who will be arriving in a few months.

My sewing machine is now at the sewing machine shop in line for a cleaning and check up. I'm kind of lost without a quilting project right now but I remembered an embroidery project which needs to be finished. I guess there's always housework which could be done too. Note the lack of enthusiasm.


The one traditional Christmas cookie I've been trying to master is my grandmother's Cream Cookie recipe. She did not cook or bake with measuring cups or spoons. We do have a base recipe to use but ingredient measurements are still a guess. After several tries this month, I think I've almost got it! They are a light, soft cookie with a delicate flavor. Tomorrow, I'll bake a batch for Christmas when our family is, hopefully, here. Unless someone gets sick or is exposed to Covid in the next few days, we are going to try to get together.


My Amaryllis shot up another stalk with four more beautiful blooms! Our cat, who is definitely not supposed to be on the table, loves the Amaryllis and has been scolded a few times already. Actually, what he is most interested in is the tie holding the stalk to the support and maybe even more importantly, he likes to sleep on the quilt!

Merry Christmas and my wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Christmas Projects

 I love flowers and while I do have some houseplants, none of them bloom in winter. I hadn't had an Amaryllis for years but when I saw them for sale at Lowe's, I purchased one. 


I was surprised it bloomed so early but three out of the four blossoms are open. I am also forcing some Paperwhites. Again its been years since I grew any. I'm hoping my Thanksgiving Cactus plants will bloom for Christmas. I need flowers!


I can't reveal what I'm working on because its a gift but you might be able to get an idea from the designer's name, Elizabeth Hartman. This is the first time I've made any of her patterns and my advice if you're thinking of trying one, label every piece and be as organized as possible.

Just a stack of quilts which need my attention.


Instead of stitching binding or doing whatever quilting task needed, I'm baking. This weekend, I made two new to me peppernut recipes. These are photos of Salted Peanut Peppernuts and I also made Molasses Peppernuts. More baking to come.


If I'm not careful, its going to be "Once over the lips, forever on the hips." I look forward to all the traditional goodies and treats but I'm always relieved to get back to simple foods in January.


Recently, a friend posted on Facebook asking about first Christmas trees. Photo is not our first Christmas tree, lol! However, today we were doing some decorating and we found the box of red yarn which we tied onto a houseplant the first Christmas we were married. We lived 6 hours from family and were going to be able to go home to see them so we didn't buy a tree for our apartment. Today I decided to decorate my ficus tree just for fun as a memory of 40 years ago!


We don't put up a Christmas tree anymore. Instead we put up what we call our memory wreath. Its all the ornaments which bring back memories of our children or events recent or years ago. The wreath hangs over our fireplace for the Christmas season. Every year, we have to repair a few ornaments, some break beyond repair, and, some are no longer hung but we always remember.

Until next time, Mayleen

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Christmas and Quilts

 I set a goal to finish piecing two projects before the end of the month and, surprise, they've been delivered to the machine quilter before Thanksgiving!


If Kaffe Fassett fabric could make a Christmas quilt, this would be one! The pattern is "Scarlet & Emerald" by Lori Q. Allison. I'm hoping I'll get the quilt back from the quilter in time to bind it and display it before Christmas. Unfortunately, this photo doesn't do the colors justice. (That's my ironing board at the bottom.)

I forgot to take a photo of my other finish, the "I Spy" quilt. I added borders to it this week and its also at the machine quilter.


Its also time to start baking which I love to do. These are Molasses Ginger peppernuts which was a new to me recipe. Since I didn't know what they'd taste like, I only made a half batch and they are already gone. More baking coming soon!

 My Christmas cactus in the background is really a Thanksgiving Cactus but isn't showing any sign of blooming soon. No buds which makes me sad. I've been fertilizing it and trying to make sure it gets the darkness and light it needs. Maybe it will bloom later this year.

Last week, I was the speaker at our virtual Prairie Quilt Guild meeting. Here's a link to photos of my trunk show if you'd like to see more of my quilts.

Stay well and treasure each day!


Friday, November 6, 2020

I Spy a Bison


Saturday, November 7, is National Bison Day so I'm sharing my thread painted "Bison Beauty" wall hanging made in 2018. Inspired by a photo: Original American Bison Cow photograph, copyright David J. Drew. Used with permission. The photo was taken at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near Canton, KS.

 "Bison Beauty" won several ribbons for me and hung in the 2018 International Quilt Festival in Houston.

 This week I finally got all 130 "I Spy" blocks pieced together! Next week, I'll add the inner and outer borders.

Emerald & Scarlet

Sometimes I read instructions, sometimes I just look at the pattern photos to put a project together. This time I read the instructions but didn't check the pattern photos. I thought I knew what I was doing but wrong! I now have 32 blocks to take apart because the Kaffe Fassett Zig Zag and Jupiter stripes are running in the wrong direction. Easy work, just annoying because I didn't pay attention.

Until next time, Mayleen

Monday, October 26, 2020

I Spy!

I have two current projects, never a loss for something to work on especially since I recently found several UFO's packed away and will have to add them to my list. I have finished 51 snowball blocks for my grandson's "I Spy" quilt and need a total of 130. My goal is to make 20 each morning and then move on to my other project which I've only just begun. 

I can't remember when I've made something from a kit but this new project is just that. It was easier than trying to figure out how much fabric I needed to order in addition to what I have in my fabric stash. Since we're having an early wintry mix of snow and ice for a few days, I hope to accomplish quite a bit of piecing and have a photo for next time!

Stay warm, Mayleen

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Selvage Pie


"Selvage Pie", 82x82", machine quilted by Jan Hutchison

I finally finished "Selvage Pie"! It's a pattern by Marianne Fons which I made with selvages donated by Prairie Quilt Guild members. It should have hung in our guild show this past June. When our show was cancelled, all that was left to do was the binding and I just put it off. Not to mention, I had made a big mistake which needed to be fixed first. Anyway, its finished which is a big relief.


What am I working on now? Binding. Unfortunately if I'm at it too long, my shoulder, arm, and hand start to hurt so I'm trying not to push myself too hard.

 Some of our grandkids spent this past weekend with us! It just so happened it was probably the last really warm weekend this year so they requested a pool party. We just have two wading pools but we've got a lot of water toys. They spent hours playing in the water and watering my flowers, bushes, and trees. Very helpful since we're in a drought.


We also decorated Molasses jack-o-lantern cookies. The cookie without any candy was decorated by the youngest who promptly ate any candy we gave him. Do you see the face his fingers made in the frosting? It actually looks spookier than any of the other cookies!

I'm also trying to savor any time outside in the garden because colder temperatures are on the way. Enjoy the season!

Until next time, Mayleen

Saturday, October 3, 2020

ALL of the Orphans

 Five years ago, I completed my term as president of the Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, KS. Our guild has a tradition that the outgoing president may ask for guild members to make a block for her. Having no idea how many blocks I would receive, I decided to ask for UFO blocks to challenge myself in setting them together. During the year, we had an unofficial theme of finishing UFO's.

I used to know how many I received but it was many. Quilters are generous and somehow I suspect a few guild members gave me all the UFO blocks they had! 

It took me 5 years but I just finished piecing and binding all 6 of the orphan block quilts I made. The sleeves and labels still have to be made and stitched on.

This is one of the latest finishes. Earlier, I named it the Quilt Math quilt because of all the crazy math I did which was usually wrong but I'm changing the name to "Two Gold Bars". It measures 65x79 and was machine quilted by Annette Haga of Bluebird Quilting. I hope you see the two vertical gold bars on either side of the medallion. I'm don't know why I didn't notice how prominent they are until after the quilting was done. I tried to think of a way to make them less noticeable without going to a lot of extra work but for now have simply decided to allow them to "be". Besides gold bars make me think of actual gold bars which sounds much better than quilt math!

The Orphanage Quilt was the last finish! I decided to put all the remaining blocks in one quilt. It measures 84x89 and was quilted by Annette Haga of Bluebird Quilting. I added some spool blocks which I won in a guild giveaway back in 2015. Its a combination of antique, vintage, hand pieced, machine pieced, and just about every style of block known. Very quirky but I rather like it! I bound the top and bottom along the double wedding ring block edges which is something I'd never done before. I doubt I want to do it again.


Patriotic Orphan was one of the first orphan block quilt finishes (1996) and was supposed to resemble a flag. I need to do some searching for the name of the quilter of this wall hanging. It measures 53x75. I think this is the only red, white, and blue quilt I've made. I like the colors but I've just never made one before.


This is Orphan Heart, made in 2016, measures 82x90" and was quilted by Pam and Kurt Sackschewsky. It was inspired by a Jen Kingwell's "Gypsy Wife" quilt I saw on Pinterest. She now has a pattern out called "Boho Heart" which would be much easier to make than to follow my technique. I just put blocks on my design wall in a heart shape and then filled in the empty spaces.

 Utility Orphan which you've seen before, about 55x55" and quilted by me. Does anyone know the name of this block?

I don't have a name for this one yet so until I do, I call it the "Orange and Purple Orphan", measuring about 72x72". Quilted by Annette Haga of Bluebird Quilting. This was also made back in 2016. I think its a good example of adding Kaffe Fassett fabrics to traditional color blocks. I think the quilt blocks are unified by his fabrics. Before I started quilting with his fabrics, I probably wouldn't have put the color orange in this quilt but I like it!

This is my supervisor who was watching while I photographed quilts on my design wall yesterday! He's sitting on top a wall unit about 6 1/2 feet tall.

Until next time, Mayleen

Thursday, September 24, 2020

More Orphan Blocks!

This is the orphan block project I've been working on lately. I haven't come up with a brilliant name for it yet so if you have suggestions, please leave a comment. Definitely a utility quilt which I'll probably use as a table topper since its roughly 58 inches square. Did I say square? Not really, lol!

I quilted it myself somewhat successfully using my walking foot. I don't like moving the quilt around when quilting and the pattern I chose to quilt the outer blocks was my downfall. I ended up picking out 6 blocks worth of stitching and starting over with easier straight lines.

I pieced the top several years ago and then as now quilt math was a challenge. I ran out of the red border fabric so I added the purple but didn't cut it long enough. I added a few inches of gray fabric and decided to add my initials and the year in that space to make it look "planned".

Why did I choose purple binding? I keep a bag of binding scraps to use on scrappy quilts and I found some binding which should reach all the way around the quilt. Premade binding, yes! Well, it almost reached all the way around the quilt. I added some scrap purple plaid to finish the last 5 inches.

I decided this quilt would be a good opportunity to learn how to sew down binding by machine. I stitched the binding on the front, pressed the extra to the back, and glued it down with Elmer's School Glue. It took me less than an hour to glue and stitch in the ditch from the front. I think it went fairly well for the first time doing this technique.

Other things keeping me busy: I've been stripping these 3 old chairs to refinish. I bought two of them at a farm sale at least 20 years ago so I'd say its time to do something with them! If they look good when stained, they will join 3 chairs like the one on the left around our dining room farmhouse table.

What's still blooming in my yard?


Brown Eyed Susans

More Asters

Butterfly Milkweed

 A Bumblebee was taking a nap on one of the zinnias one cool morning! I let him nap in peace.

Until next time, Mayleen

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Quilt Math Quilt

 While the Orphanage Quilt is at the machine quilter, I've been working on the Quilt Math Quilt. I named it this because of the math struggles I had while putting the orphan blocks together. I measured incorrectly, forgot to add the 1/4 inch seam allowances into spacer blocks, and just made simple errors. I think I had to rip out the blocks three times! I just couldn't ignore the mismatched seams.

I still have a collection of out of print Jo Morton fabrics and I used them for sashing, borders, and the cornerstones. So now the top is finished, the backing is pieced, and its all ready to be delivered to the machine quilter. This should be the last of the donated orphan blocks! 

The past two weeks has been a race to see how much I could get done outside in the heat and humidity before our temperatures dropped 30 degrees and it began to rain. It was really dry here so the slow gentle rain has been welcome!

First some planting and then mulch happened to make ...

... my rain garden! 

There is a swale in our back yard which drains standing water away when we receive large amounts of rain in too short of a period of time. We've landscaped it to make a rain garden. I've planted mostly native plants which can tolerate the standing water for a few days. There are still a few blank areas where I plan to transplant plants to in the spring.

 After four days of cool cloudy weather, I'm ready for some sunshine! These pictures of my flowers were taken last week. Summer will soon be over and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.


Until next time, Mayleen

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Orphanage Quilt

Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, KS has a tradition that the outgoing president may ask guild members to make her a block for remembrance. In 2015, I was the outgoing president and asked for orphan blocks because I thought I might get more that way and that it would be fun and challenging to put them together! Oh my.

After making 4 or 5 orphan block quilts, the rest of the blocks rested on my UFO shelf. Then this summer, I decided to put all the remaining blocks into one quilt and call it the Orphanage Quilt.

I did not know how generous quilt guild members would be. Maybe they were a little too generous, lol! The above block became the medallion of the Orphanage Quilt because it is the largest block I received.

This may not look like many blocks but in total there are approximately 48 blocks in those stacks sorted by size as much as possible. Two of which may be part of the label on the back of the quilt. The blocks are all shapes, sizes, and colors so it will be a quilt full of personality. There are also several blocks which are vintage or even antique, some pieced by hand or perhaps on a treadle sewing machine. I've been interfacing those blocks to give them more security and body.

After playing with several layouts, this became the medallion with one round of blocks. I'm also auditioning the next border fabric in this photo.

This is as far as I am today. Because there were several spots I couldn't fit orphan blocks into, I added spool blocks, which I won in our guild's Birthday Block exchange, to fill in the holes. I sure hope it will be mostly square after I add the top and bottom rows. If it isn't, I think its going to stay that way.

Some of the orphan blocks have been signed but most have not and I wish they were! I think of guild members and wonder what they are doing during this time of no guild meetings. Even though I'm an introvert, I miss the hustle and bustle of our large guild, I miss the speakers, and the occasional workshop I took. I hope that quilting is bringing happiness and stress relief to quilters everywhere!

Until next time, Mayleen